Reading: Jeremiah 10- 3-4
One Christmas, my parents bought a set of wooden Christmas tree ornaments. To me, it seemed like hundreds that we had to paint. In the weeks preceding Christmas, my parents, my sister, our babysitter, and I painted and decorated our tree with those ornaments.
In years to come, we put some of those ornaments on our tree each year, reminding us of that Christmas when we painted them. It became even more special after my babysitter’s death. Then, we also remembered her and what she meant to my family.
My family also had a tradition that when we went on vacation in the summer, we would find an ornament from that destination to put on our tree. When we decorated it each year, we would be reminded of the places we had visited. Since my sister and I have left the nest, my parents continue to buy ornaments on their vacations. I have started that tradition with my own tree, buying an ornament on my summer vacations.
Some people say we should not decorate trees for Christmas because of the verse we read today from Jeremiah. I’ve heard that it is legend that the tradition of putting up Christmas trees came from Martin Luther. He wanted to show his children the beauty of the night Christ was born. So, he put a nativity scene up in their home and put an evergreen tree behind it. In the darkness the candles (yes, real candles back then) which he placed on the tree looked like the stars which shone down on the manger. Soon, other Germans began to do the same and the rest, as they say, is history.
I think a tree at Christmas time is a perfect way to remind us of Christ. An evergreen is always green– unlike other trees, it does not lose its leaves in winter and look “dead.” Christ is alive always, just like evergreens are always green. Let our Christmas trees remind us of that! --Chad Hershberger, Camp Mount Luther Director
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